Thin continuous flexible floating structures have been shown to have technical and economic advantages for Offshore Floating Photovoltaic (OFPV) installations. In terms of large horizontal dimensions compared to the wave length, these structures are similar to sea ice as well as Very Large Floating Structures (VLFS), e.g. as proposed for floating airports. In this paper, we reviewed the hydroelastic theory for sea ice and VLFS and assessed its applicability to the newly envisaged flexible floating structures. While VLFS and sea ice motion in waves are dominated by elastic deformations, their motion amplitudes are limited to the order of the structure thickness. Thin and flexible floating structures were found to be able to follow the wave motion with amplitudes far exceeding their thickness. Nonlinear theories like Föppl–von Kármán plate theory are required to model these structures. The significant contribution of nonlinear effects in the structural response and the large deformations in waves far exceeding the structural thickness lead to the definition of the new category of Very Flexible Floating Structures (VFFS).
- Characteristic length
- Föppl–von Kármán plate theory
- Hydroelastic methods
- Ice-related structures
- Very flexible floating structures
- Very large floating structures